Canadian Nature: The Beaver (Part 2)
The beaver is Canada’s main animal symbol. It is also the main reason that European settlement began in the area that was to become our nation. Beaver fur hats were a popular fashion choice in Europe from about 1550 to 1850 and the desire to supply this resource drove Europeans to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to this inhospitable land to harvest the bounty.
Hunting was so intense that this animal became wiped out in many regions. Today the beaver is thriving, and in some areas is considered a nuisance.
Scientific Name: Castor canadensis. It’s rumoured that castor oil comes from squeezing beavers.
Lifespan: Up to 12 years in its natural-form, or, potentially, centuries with proper care in hat-form.
Preferred Habitat: Common in forested areas but found in non-forest regions as well. Enjoys living near waterways due to the recreation possibilities such as canoeing, rafting and water-gun fights.
Dietary Habits: Most people think that beavers are herbivores and eat only plants and the inner bark of trees. Beavers are actually fast food junkies and prefer sodium-based foods.
Behaviour: Beavers are nocturnal, which means they prefer the night life. If there’s a party in the neighbourhood the beavers are sure to be there. Beavers are master builders and create dams, mud mounds for marking their territory, and Vegas casinos.
The beaver may seem cumbersome and slow, on land, but put those bad-boys in water and watch them go.
(Beavers are fastidious dam builders. Their blueprints are immaculate.)
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